WE WILL NEVER DIE!:
SIMON YOUNG OF THE SLANTS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THE BAND'S DEBUT CD 'SLANTED EYES, SLANTED HEARTS', THEIR SUCCESS ON HE ANIME CIRCUIT
AND TAKING OWNERSHIP OF A STEREOTYPE
A SECOND TIME AROUND:
ABOUT THE BANDS FORTHCOMING CD GIG MICHAELS OF SWAMPDAWAMP TALKS TO ROCKWIRED GOING OUT ON THE ROAD AGAINAND WHERE HE'S AT IN LIFE
LIKE FLOWERS THROUGH THE CONCRETE:
MARC PANNI OF LOS BLANCOS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR LATEST CD 'JUST THIS ONCE' REELING IN THE AUDIENCE AT MAKING FOLKS RECONSIDER MUSICIANSHIP(READ MORE)
LOVE LIKE THIS:
MIKE ZITO TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HIS LATEST CD 'TODAY' GROWING AS A SONGWRITER
AND MAKING THE ALBUM HE'S ALWAYS DREAMED OF (READ MORE)
SOUND AND VISION:
JEFF SHAPIRO ON CIAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR CD 'ANONYMOUS' MERGING ART AND MUSIC
AND APPEALING TO OTHER SENSES (READ MORE)
UNDER THE LIGHTThe Sacramento-based power-trio THE GRUMPY have released their E.P. 'THROES OF CONTEMPLATION', and after years of gigging around and releasing three prior recordings, it feels like things are finally begining to cement for the band. "We've done a lot of E.P.'s and have done a bunch of live things but this is the first CD where we went all the way through with the whole production value of it all and making sure that the mastering was done by a very reputable fella. We spent way too much time in the studio making sure that everything went the way we wanted it." says lead singer/guitarist CAMERON WEST of the band's more meticulous approach to recording this time around.
CAMERON WEST AND J.W. BROOKS OF THE GRUMPY
TALK TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR E.P. 'THROES OF CONTEMPLATION'
SUFFERING A WHOLE BUNCH
AND WRITING ABOUT IT
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
After listening to 'THROES OF CONTEMPLATION', one can only hope that this is only the begining for the band, despite the fact that they've been together for close to a decade. WEST is the chief songwriter for the band and one can hear evidence of the man's classical training, despite the BLUE OYSTER CULT-styled power chords. From the opening track CHANGE to the closing lighter waving anthem MISUNDERSTOOD, the band remain consistent and engaging throughout, while wearing an obvious RUSH influence on their rolled up sleeve.
ROCKWIRED spoke with WEST and drummer J.W. BROOKS over the phone. Here is how it went.
You've got a great E.P. out!
CAMERON: Thanks! We're diggin' it and I hope that everyone else is too.
And now that it's out there for everyone to hear, how do you guys feel about it?
CAMERON: I'm actually pretty happy with it. We've spent a lot of time on this one in making sure that everything is where we wanted it. We went the extra mile, I guess you could say.
J.W.:Yeah it was good times doing it.
You guys have been around for a while yet a I don't have a discography handy. Is this your first release?
CAMERON: No. This is the fourth-ish. We've done a lot of E.P.'s and live things but this is the first CD where we went all the way through with the whole production value of it all and making sure that the mastering was done by a very reputable fella. We spent way too much time in the studio making sure that everything went the way we wanted it.
How did this band come together. What got everybody on the same page?
J.W.: CAMERON and I have pretty much known each other our whole lives so it's been off and on as far as music goes. We've always played and jammed together. The band has always been there. It's always been a different name with different music, but as far as a name for right now, we've landed on THE GRUMPY. We found JAKE FERGUSON (the bass player) a few years ago. We went to school with him back in the day and we just ran into him. he was playing bass so we got together and started doing our thing. It's been going strong for the last few years.
Why the name?
J.W.: Have you seen our website?
Yes I have.
J.W.: So I assume you've seen me. I look pretty grumpy, I think.
Yeah, you do a little bit.
J.W.: I don't know. I give everybody the same answer and I know it sounds ridiculous but I just say that we put a thousand names in a hat and picked out THE GRUMPY.
What drew each of you to music specifically?
J.W.: I'll let CAMERON go first.
CAMERON: For me, it was from birth. I crawled out and onto a piano. I knew what I wanted to do since I was about two. For me it was pretty easy to pick this road because it's all I've known since I was born.
J.W.: It was easy for me to grow into music because growing up, every single one of my friends was a musician. I was playing five gallon drums at parties when I was ten or twelve. I actually picked up a drum set and started playing when I was about fifteen. Since all my friend were musicians, I had a lot of people to jam with, so you learn real fast.
What music spoke to you in the begining?
J.W.: The kind of music that's still speaking to me is Classic Rock. Stuff like JIMI HENDRIX, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, PINK FLOYD, and LED ZEPPELIN. I've been listening to that stuff since I was old enough to listen to music
How about you CAMERON?
CAMERON: My experience growing up was almost exclusively classical until I was in my mid teens. That was when I got to experimenting with some more of the modern music. My brother was a big jazz afficionado so between him and I there was a lot of dead people music floating around the air in the house.
Explain how a song gets written in this band.
CAMERON: I go and suffer a whole bunch and then I write about it. The creative process is just finding the mark or the color of an idea and letting my hands do what they do and let my voice do what is does.
Are there any plans for a full length release?
CAMERON: It's a funding thing for the most part. We keep setting a new standard every time that we record something. Now the standard is set to do a full length album the way that we want to, but it's probably going to need a little more support.
And CAMERON, this question goes to you specifically. Talk about your band mates. What do you think that eachof them sort of brings to the table creatively, musically and personality-wise.
CAMERON: The easiest one to address is going to be the drummer. J.W. and I go all the way back to elementary school and junior high and all the way up. Over the course playing music together as kids, we broke off and went our own separate directions. We also played the rhythm section in a country band for a while , we did a rhythm section for a death metal band and a regular metal band. We did everyhing. We've done folk and latin music for a while so between him and I, we have a chemistry that just makes it work. Everything we do wherever we go, we seem to go there together. There is that tightnes that we have that I don't think that I've had with very many drummers. Our bass player JAKE is nutty and that's really what bass players do, I guess.
And J.W., I'd like for you to talk about CAMERON.
J.W.: Well, just like CAMERON says, we have a chemistry. As far as talking about CAMERON in front of him, I've got to say that he's a great guy and he's easy to work with and he's a phenomenal writer. If we can make it happen musically, than I've got say that kicks ass.
From this current relase are there any tracks that sort of stand out for you?
J.W.: That's a tough one. Alot of those songs stick out in my head just because they are so fun to play. Every song we play is fun to play in it's own way, but the tunes on this new album are really great. We're getting great responses from our live work as well as what we're laying down on wax. If there is one song that sticks out in my head, I would have to say 'WALK'. It's so damn fun to play on the drums.
How about you CAMERON?
CAMERON: I think the one that gets me is MISUNERSTOOD because it was an after thought in adding it to the CD. I was actully thinking about pulling it from the CD and putting it on a later release but the engineer sat me down and had this long discussion with me about how he wanted the song on the album and how he would make it work. Three or four weeks later, we worked the song from the ground up and turned it tnto what it is now, which is something that I'm very happy with. So the song has gone from being my least favorite to the most notable, and maybe even my favorite on the album.
What would you like person to come away with after hearing it.
CAMERON: Here is where the artist in me has to answer. That's the part that's art. I can't really dictate what I'd like someone to walk away with . All I can do is share what I have and let that affect them in the way that it does, however that may be.